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About Us

The Institute

The Institute for Judaism and Civilization Inc was founded in 1998. Its task was to explore the interface between Judaism and the arts, sciences and values of general civilization. 

The Institute seeks not only a sophisticated communication between society and culture at large and the specific Jewish tradition from Sinai. At the same time, the Institute has a very strong interest in the general ethical tradition for all humanity, also handed down at Sinai, which is known as the Noahide laws or the Seven laws of Noah. 

This code which was known to humanity before Sinai and practiced by Noah, the biblical ancestor of humanity after the flood, and Abraham, the father of the great world religious cultures, received its authoritative form at Sinai. The Institute seeks increasingly to research, teach and apply the philosophical and concrete ethical teachings of the Noahide laws.

The Director


Photo P Bovolos

Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen, son of a former Governor General of Australia, Sir Zelman Cowen OBM, has a dual background in secular and religious studies. He has a PhD in social philosophy and received Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbi Chaim Gutnick OBM in Australia and Rabbi S. Y. Cohen, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Israel. 

He has been a Senior Research Fellow at Monash University and Program Director of a postgraduate Rabbinic Institute, the Kollel Menachem Lubavitch in Melbourne.

In 1998 he “fused” these strands in the establishment of the Institute for Judaism and Civilization as its founding Director. For a complete resume of his career and publications, see here


The Institute takes pride in the calibre and influence of its contributors. These have included former Heads of State, a Chief Justice and many other pivotal figures in contemporary society. For some of the contributors and their contributions see here.

Dimensions of the Institute's Work

The Institute promotes research which finds expressions in various publications, many published by the Institute itself and some by outside publishers. In all it has six categories of publication five of which are published by the Institute, including an internationally subscribed journal, monograph series, and original collaborative artworks.

It promotes discussion through a variety of forums, many of which have been written up in the Institute’s publications.

From time to time it runs courses in the theory and practice of universal ethics – the Noahide laws – and their applications to various aspects of society and culture.

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